Sunday, March 19, 2017

Public Service is not an easy job

Public Service is not an easy job

Commissioner of Municipal Corporation is a job of huge responsibilities. In India, while Mayor is elected to serve as the titular head of the corporation, a Municipal Commissioner is the de facto executive head of the corporation, appointed by the State Government from the Indian Administrative Service. However, the major decision making is with the Standing Committee constituted from the elected representatives, but the post of Commissioner maintains it's charisma. Mr. S. Jagdishan, Mr. SR Rao, and others have earned big name while working as Commissioner.

Rajkot Commissioner Mr. Bansa Nidhi Pani explains the job: "Commissioner works for people in general in an environment where politics, builders lobby and unions try to achieve their own ends. But for a Commissioner, people's and general interest is supreme. Work life balance is impossible to achieve as the demands of service levels and quality has increased with awareness and education. It takes a heavy toll on not only family life but personal health. But, all said and done, it's a post where life is action and action means life of a Commissioner."

Ahmedabad Commissioner Mukesh Kumar describes the job: "All powers, duties & functions vested in corporation is exercised, performed or discharged by the Commissioner. Right from birth to death and life 24x7 is influenced by Municipal Commissioner, one of most challenging and satisfactory assignments for IAS officer."

Mr. Barad Municipal Commissioner of Jamnagar, who worked as Deputy Commissioner of Ahmedabad tells: "it is very challenging job demands quality and quantity of services where some elected representatives carry personal interests and staff is politicised. However we can see the work what we have planned and executed which is not possible as Collector that gives us satisfaction."

Looking at the job chart of a Municipal Commissioner, don't you think, it is a tiring job to age faster and going gray? 

Within two years of the assignment many get tired of the work pressure. Infrastructure development, resource mobilisation, waste collection and disposal, providing drinking water and other amenities to the citizens, complaints resolutions, meeting visitors and fighting with the pressure and interest groups from all corners all the time make him tired. A silent guy became talkative and talkative guy lands up into the stage of oral diarrhoea! One not only need a zeal to work tirelessly but also a courage to maintain balance of mind, body and family. 

But we have one colleague, known as no nonsense officer, who hasn't tired yet though worked as Municipal Commissioner of Rajkot and Ahmedabad for nearly 8 years, Principal Secretary of Urban Development and post retirement working as MD of the MEGA (3.5 years) to build the Metro in Ahmedabad, where he had worked as Commissioner for more than 5 years. Working with Urbans for more than a decade is a big achievement. Any new infrastructures of works class in Ahmedabad whether Sabarmati River Front Development, Kankaria Lake Front, BRTS (Bus Rapid Transport System), and now Metro, etc, he was the key. He has conserved the heritage in a 600 years old city. His stars are fixed more with Ahmedabad that has bagged him many institutional and national awards. Transit Oriented Development is the modern concept of city development, that he has executed in the City of Ahmedabad. TOD has opened up the ways of development for the backward areas of east Ahmedabad where people in general are from middle, lower middle or poor class. 

He took over the position of Managing Director of MEGA in September 2013, when the project was held up in the sands of Sabarmati. With the revision of the DP, he gave importance to the needy and dense populated east belt of Ahmedabad to reduce the west-east divide, solved the local and external funding issues, and started the work of a Project costing more than ₹10,000 crore from the eastern starting point of Vastral. In a short span of time, he has been able to build a team of supervisors, executives and workers of civil, mechanical, electrical, IT and other wings of engineering; awarding contracts of ₹6000 plus crore, maintaining high standards of quality control of the works in progress and solving land acquisition and other issues, taking possession of a closed textiles mill for the depot and begun the work of the project. 

Today, the work of Vastral Station and Apparel Park Depot and other three sites are progressing in high gear. The construction of metro train depot cum workshop at Apparel Park on east west corridor for LoA given in February 2016, will be completed in February 2018. Embankment, piles, pile cap, plinth beams, RCC, reinforcement of steel, building slabs, roofing, clubbing, etc, and boring shaft in a sandy land strata of Ahmedabad in the middle of roads of the areas with dense population with movements of thousands of bikes and cars is a big challenge. Soil testing, ground testing geo technical investigation and accordingly designing and executing the works and coordination with many agencies and civil contractors working at different stretches need special attention. Team MEGA has been succeeded in resolving all these issues. In the heat of approaching summer, they have planned work in shifts; 8-12 and 4-11, so that the speed of the works maintained. 

As planned, a 6 km stretch between Vastral and Apparel Park will be operational by June 18. As there are many historical monuments located enroute of metro, and to follow the construction norms applied around the monuments radius, the Metro will travel underground from Apparel Park to Kalupur. The tunnelling work has been awarded and it is going to start soon. Metro Ahmedabad Project of 39 km rail link of an east-west corridor from Thaltej to Vastral and a north-south corridor from APMC to Motera, is expected to be operational by 2020. 

It will likely save thousands of vehicle trips and fuel worth crores in a city that's choking on exhaust fumes and crawling in the streets. When the speed of transport is going down in pick hours due to traffic congestion, the Metro will inject speed in the life of Amdavadi.

Metro project of Ahmedabad is being implemented by a special purpose vehicle (SPV) Metro Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA). The Metro will be linked with the BRTS, railways, and other public transport services to develop a multi-modal transport service.  Mr. IP Gautam, retired IAS of 1986 batch is the MD of MEGA. 

Great job Gautam. Our Salutes🙏

19 March 2017


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